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Ask Kirstin: Dark vs Milk Chocolate; Using Buttermilk


I prefer milk chocolate but so many recipes call for dark or semisweet chocolate. Can I replace it? — Karen F.

If you are just making something simple, like cookies, brownies or chocolate cake, by all means use your favorite kind of chocolate. In these cases the quality (the amount and flavor of cocoa butter in your chocolate) of chocolate matters more than whether it is dark or light. There are times though, when you are making something where chocolate is a main ingredient, like a mousse or a flourless chocolate cake, you might want to stick with the recipe’s suggestion, so as not to upset the sugar/dairy ratio in the recipe.


My kids and I do a lot of impromptu cookie baking, but we never have unsalted butter in my fridge. Can we use salted instead? — Nancy J.

Hi Nancy! I actually love a tiny bit of salt in my desserts, especially if they have chocolate in them, so usually I have no problem using salted butter instead of unsalted. However, there are times when is is best to control the amount of salt in a recipe, and you can only do that with unsalted butter (butter creams are a good example). If you want to compensate for the salt in the butter you are using, omit ¼ teaspoon salt per stick of butter you are using.


What is buttermilk? It sounds so fattening, is it? And if I don’t have it, is there a substitute? — Michelle

I love buttermilk! In Denmark we make a dessert soup called “kold skald.” We add lemon rind, vanilla and sugar to ice cold buttermilk, then float a few “kammerjunker” (butter cookies) on top to eat during hot summer days while sitting in the grass under the plum trees.

Buttermilk is very low in fat, only 1-2%. Once upon a time when butter was churned from cream, the remaining “milk” was called buttermilk. Now days the process is a little different, but the end result is the same, a low fat dairy product, with all the tangy goodness of sour cream or yoghurt. In “The Family Dinner” book we add it to our mashed potatoes recipe, as a low fat alternative to butter or sour cream. Often breads, biscuits and cakes have buttermilk in the recipe. To make a quick substitution, add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of milk and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes.


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2 Responses

  1. Olivia Scomparin says:

    this is cool
    i like dark chocolate, you can taste the chocolate more

  2. B&B Brugge says:

    Biscuits and cakes include butter milk, but bread too, I didn’t knew about this. I have also used salted butter, it really tastes good.

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